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Sweetwater High School to get new stadium turf field Press Release | Thu, Aug 25 2011 08:47 AM

Sweetwater High School has received a $200,000 grant for a new synthetic turf field, courtesy of the San Diego Chargers and the National Football League Grassroots Program. The grant, awarded by the Chargers, the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), is part of $2.5 million allocated in 2011 for field refurbishment.

The new field at Sweetwater will be the home field to more than 1,000 high school athletes and 400 youth football players.

“Sweetwater High School is one of San Diego’s oldest and most storied schools. That said, the school also is one that has the most needs,” said Chargers Executive Vice President A.G. Spanos of the school that was established in 1921. “We’re proud to be able to make this happen for future Red Devils and the surrounding community.”

The NFL Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Youth Football Fund and LISC, the nation’s leading community development support corporation, has resulted in the construction or renovation of 243 football fields nationwide in the past 13 years. During that time, the NFL Youth Football Fund has granted more than $30 million to revitalize playing fields in underserved neighborhoods.

Fields are newly built or significantly renovated, with improvements such as irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards, goal posts and turf. Grassroots grants are issued once established funding thresholds are reached for each project.

LISC identifies local, nonprofit, neighborhood-based agencies that have an interest in building or refurbishing football fields in schools and parks in underserved neighborhoods. Through the program, the local agencies are provided with the necessary financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of fields in their neighborhoods. The local agencies oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.

“These fields are a critical part of our efforts to create sustainable communities — places where people want to live, work and raise families,” said Michael Rubinger, LISC’s president and CEO. “Through its contributions, the NFL Youth Football Fund is not only creating places for young people to compete in football and other sports, it’s also making countless neighborhoods better and stronger.” 

As the only high school in National City, Sweetwater serves 2,300 students in one of the highest need communities in San Diego County. The oldest school in the Sweetwater district, Sweetwater’s existing grass field is in poor condition after heavy continual use for physical education classes, school football and soccer games. Many community leagues and residents also make use of the Sweetwater field.

The Sweetwater district is planning to renovate the football field with artificial turf, creating a valuable amenity both for the school and the community at large. Recently, the city of National City invested $200,000 in funding from the Community Development Block Grants program toward completion of this project.

The turnout for the event featured several heavy-hitters in their respective fields: Spanos of the Chargers, National City Mayor Ron Morrison, Sweetwater district superintendent Ed Brand and Sweetwater school board president John McCann.

Established in 1998 by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the NFL Youth Football Fund seeks to use football as a catalyst to promote positive youth development, support youth and high school football needs nationwide and also ensure the health of grassroots football in future generations.

Through the YFF’s youth football initiatives and support programs, youngsters are provided with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors

LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $11.1 billion to build or rehab more than 277,000 affordable homes and develop 44 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide.

LISC support has leveraged nearly $33.9 billion in total development activity.  For more information, visit www.lisc.org.

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